Jamison Crowder led the NFL with 14 receptions in Week 1. The Jets underneath receiver was a strong buy according to our staff rankings and the top pick according to our Bounceback Candidates criteria. Shawn Siegele takes a closer look at the 2019 debuts for our bounceback wide receivers after an exciting weekend of fantasy football.
In The Wrong Read, No. 46: Anatomy of a Bounceback, Blair Andrews provided a blueprint for selecting the top bounceback WRs every year. Following his intel, I prioritized the 2019 candidates in the following tiers:
It’s still very early and I expect Robby Anderson and Christian Kirk to make plenty of noise, but Crowder and Fitzgerald are poised to make the bounceback picks pay off in a big way. Both erupted for more than 20 fantasy points, and they did it on the type of heavy volume that provides a high floor.
Crowder led the way in receptions (14), targets (17), and expected points (26.5). As a result, he easily outscored his best week from 2018.
New York faces a difficult slate of opposing pass defenses this season, and Anderson’s potential battles with shadow coverage will be the key subplot of the Jets’ season. If Sam Darnold continues to struggle in his deep attempts to Anderson, it could open the floodgates for similar future weeks from Crowder.
Crowder was only targeted beyond 10 yards once out of 17 total opportunities, and he didn’t break off long runs after the catch. His 41% target share made that irrelevant in Week 1.
Fitzgerald had a very solid finish to 2018, averaging more than 13 PPG after Byron Leftwich replaced Mike McCoy at offensive coordinator.
Despite the improvement, he only reached 20 points once all season. It looked like Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury might be another downgrade early on, but everything changed during the Cardinals’ late flurry.
Sitting at a paltry two catches for nine yards through three, Fitzgerald exploded down the stretch with six receptions for 104 yards and a score in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Much of Fitzgerald’s late-game emergence can be attributed to his usage all over the field. The future Hall of Famer was only targeted 20 or more yards down the field 10 times last season. He earned three such targets from Murray, corralling two of them for 86 yards.
Fitzgerald’s nine underneath targets came all over the field, forcing the Lions to account for his whereabouts. It’s exciting to see flexibility from Arizona. Although there will be plenty of growing pains, perhaps they can avoid the predictability that ultimately doomed Chip Kelly’s attempt to bring a college scheme to the NFL.
Marvin Jones disappointed from a scoring perspective in Week 1, but he did catch all four of his targets for 56 yards. It’s disconcerting to see him garner only four targets on a day when Matthew Stafford threw 45 passes. T.J. Hockenson is the real deal, and a secondary breakout from Kenny Golladay would push Jones into the difficult weekly start/sit category.
Keep an eye on Paul Richardson. He turned his seven targets into only 36 yards, but you won’t turn down that volume from a Watch List player. If Washington’s passing game is sneaky good, Richardson could benefit from the attention paid to rookie Terry McLaurin, one of the leaders in fantasy points over expectation.
San Francisco’s offense is in greater disarray than a 31-17 victory indicates. Marquise Goodwin should play better in Week 2, but none of the non-Kittle receivers will be startable until they decide whether to prioritize mind games or moving the football.